Psychology Can Help

Sometimes you need someone to talk to...

How can personality disorders be treated?

Bipolar Disorder

Treatment for bipolar disorder usually includes a variety of strategies to manage the disease over the long term. Medications are typically an important part of treatment. Medications may include mood stabilizers, anti-psychotic medications or antidepressants and these medications usually need to be taken daily or regularly to be effective.

Psychotherapy, when done in combination with medication, can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps people with bipolar disorder learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Family-focused therapy helps enhance family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their loved ones. This also improves communication among family members, as well as problem-solving.
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy helps people with bipolar disorder improve their relationships with others and manage their daily routines. Regular daily routines and sleep schedules may help protect against manic episodes.
  • Psychoeducation teaches people with bipolar disorder about the illness and its treatment. Psychoeducation can help people to recognize an impending mood swing to you can seek treatment early, before a full-blown episode occurs. This is usually done in a group and psychoeducation may also be helpful for family members and caregivers.

Psychologists can help people recognize and manage symptoms of their disorder, change negative thought patterns and behaviors, manage daily routines and improve relationships with family and friends.

Borderline Personality Disorder

BPD is often viewed as difficult to treat, but recent research shows that BPD can be treated effectively, and that many people with this illness improve over time. BPD can be treated with psychotherapy and in some cases, a mental health professional may also recommend medications to treat specific symptoms. Psychotherapy is usually the first treatment for those with BPD as it can relieve some symptoms. It is important for people in therapy to get along with and trust their therapist.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help people with BPD identify and change core beliefs and/or behaviors that underlie inaccurate perceptions of themselves and others and problems interacting with others. CBT may help reduce a range of mood and anxiety symptoms and reduce the number or suicidal or self-harming behaviors.

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) focuses on the concept of mindfulness, or being aware of an attentive to the current situation. DBT teaches skills to control intense emotions, reduces self-destructive behaviors, and improves relationships. It varies from CBT as it seeks a balance between changing and accepting beliefs and behaviors.

Schema-focused therapy combine elements of CBT with other forms of psychotherapy that focus on re-framing schemas, or the ways people view themselves. This approach is based on the ideas that BPD stems from a dysfunctional self-image that affects how people react to their environment, interact with others, and cope with problems or stress.

Families of people with BPD may also benefit from therapy as there are challenges of dealing with an ill relative on a daily basis. It can add stress to family members' lives and they may unknowingly act in ways that worsen their relative's symptoms. Some therapies, such as DBT-family skills training, include family members in the treatment sessions. These help families to develop skills to better understand and support a relative with BPD.

No medications have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat BPD. However, some medications may be helpful in managing specific symptoms. For some people, medications help reduce symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or aggression.